all the birds sing back



Feeling under the weather this week, well, more like under a truck, so I thought I would invite littlest love to be my guest blogger.  These pieces come from a portfolio she put together for her fourth grade teacher and shared this past weekend at Open House.  I must say in re-reading them now they have become this mother’s song for the week — light and love and hope that fill me with gratitude.  Those donuts?  Working.


from “I Believe” by littlest love, age 9

I believe the happiest day of your life is when you do something incredible for someone and you feel REAL joy.

The wisest people in the world are those that feel real joy every day and know the true meaning of life.

The biggest mistake is being greedy and wasting your life and the abilities you posess (sic).

Real love is sacrifice and a loving melting feeling in your heart.

Life’s greatest gift is knowledge, joy, faith, and of course LOVE.

Religion means how a person can adapt to the love of God and love back with all their heart.


photo 3-1


from “Disciple of Christ”

Have you ever seen the light of the cross in someone?  A person I would consider my disciple of Christ is my Nana.  She is petite, plump, has rosy cheeks and short gray hair.

There are many reasons why I consider Nana my disciple of Christ.  She’s generous and kind because she always brings us a gift every time she comes to visit.  She brightens my heart with her positive, silly, and forgiving attitude.  She never fails to make me smile with her funny, loving, and patient ways.

A special time I remember spending with my Nana was when she took me and my sister to see the Christmas lights in Los Gatos.  It was so fun!  There were volcano lights that spewed lava and arches of lights that shone and looked like a thousand fireworks.  We drank hot chocolate and had a great time.  One special quality I hope to make part of myself is to be as caring as my Nana is.


from “Seasons”

Autumn is a world of colorful changing leaves and trees preparing for the barren winter.  Squirrels scamper across the ground, searching for acorns.  The air smells of wet leaves and fallen pinecones.

Winter reminds me of a lonely snow covered forest dotted here and there with snow-less green patches that are conifers that have shaken the snow off of their elegant green boughs.  A glitter of beauty on the branches of trees are icicles that glitter and sparkle like diamonds when the bright winter sun catches them.

Spring makes me think of life.  Buds appear on trees and burst into bloom.  A quiet drizzling rain soaks the ground and trees.  The robin sings of new life and prosperity and all the birds sing back, making a beautiful choir.


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send my regards to book club

I haven’t had any time for reading this past month and am about to send my regards to Book Club.  Sure.  I picked the book.  It’s a good one — Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena — and this was going to be my last meeting for the forseeable future, but there’s no way I can go fifty pages in and lead the discussion.  Well, I could but I wouldn’t feel very good about it.  So it’s sayonara sister.  Either I will need to pick this book up in earnest after the last wave of essays or start listening to an audio version in my car!

odysseyThe silver lining in all this is that littlest love keeps searching me out these last few nights for some bedtime reading, and get this, she has requested my copy of Homer.  Get out!  you say.  I know.  I know!  And she’s even trying to correct some of my Greek pronunciations.  Tonight we read more of the beginning, where Athena disguises herself as a man and goes to Odysseus house — overrun in his absence with lazy and gluttonous suitors — because she wants to stir his son Telemachus into action.  We snuggle in her bed, her head resting on my chest and I making the story come to life with different voices, and always there is this backdrop of kindness and hospitality demonstrated in these Homeric epics that I never tire of, the way strangers are welcomed and honored as guests.  They’re always offered basins for washing, they’re anointed with fragrant oils and given the best seats.  They are provided a meal and wine, and then they tell stories.  Stories layered with honor and humility.  And if this is all I read this month, brief snippets of Homer shared with my sweet daughter, it’s more than enough.


Daydreaming so as he sat among the suitors,

he glimpsed Athena now

and straight to the porch he went, mortified

that a guest might still be standing at the doors.

Pausing beside her there, he clasped her right hand

and relieving her at once of her long bronze spear,

met her with winged words: “Greetings, stranger!

Here in our house you’ll find a royal welcome.

Have supper first, then tell us what you need.

He led the way and Pallas Athena followed.

Once in the high-roofed hall, he took her lance

and fixed it firm in a burnished rack against

a sturdy pillar, there where row on row of spears,

embattled Odysseus’ spears, stood stacked and waiting.

Then he escorted her to a high, elaborate chair of honor,

over it draped a cloth, and here he placed his guest

with a stool to rest her feet. But for himself

he drew up a low reclining chair beside her,

richly painted, clear of the press of suitors,

concerned his guest, offended by their uproar,

might shrink from food in the midst of such a mob.

He hoped, what’s more, to ask him about his long-lost father.

A maid brought water soon in a graceful golden pitcher

and over a silver basin tipped it out

so they might rinse their hands,

then pulled a gleaming table to their side.

A staid housekeeper brought on bread to serve them,

appetizers aplenty too, lavish with her bounty.

A carver lifted platters of meat toward them,

meats of every sort, and set beside them golden cups

and time and again a page came round and poured them wine.


~ Book 1, Robert Fagles translation

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monday funny: sorry sisters

I had one of those Monday mornings, full of surprises and tests of patience.  This coming on the heels of a weekend when I actually told my children that I would be moving to France and paying someone else to raise them for the next 7-10 years.  Through all of this, of course, I am calm, cool and collected, joking on the outside but inside: crrringing!  So many people praise me for having such articulate confident daughters, and that’s all fine and good until they tell you they aren’t going to blindly follow everything you say — this right after you’ve reminded them of the 4th commandment.  God, I thank you for trying to help us parents out with that commandment, but some lightning might be nice once in a while, too.  Could you at least manage a little earthquake, like, right after I’m done talking?  That would be great!

So after some minor adjustments to the morning routine, littlest, who just a few minutes before had farted loudly in the car and said that was for you with a smirk, asks me if she could tell me a joke as she’s hopping out of the car and on to the blacktop.  I’m ready to kiss her goodbye — See ya sister! — and she says to me in this sleepy Monday voice, Mom can I tell you some jokes?  It was like the deep breath I needed.  She rolls the first one off like a pro, and I laugh, I really laugh.  And when I ask her where she heard it, she pulls out this little book of jokes from her backpack, a huge sleepy smile across her face, and we flip through it while kids in pressed uniforms rush past us, the bell ringing in the distance.


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